The Latest: Oregon House approves minimum wage increase
Feb. 19, 2016
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on a debate to raise the minimum wage in in Oregon using a three-tiered system (all times local):
The Oregon House of Representatives has approved landmark legislation that not only raises the state's minimum wage for all workers to the highest level in the country, but does so through an unprecedented three-tiered system that sets different rates by geographic region.
Senate Bill 1532 passed Thursday, mostly along party lines in a narrow 32-26 vote. It will now go to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown for final signoff. Brown has said she supports the proposal.
The bill will increase wages gradually over six years. By 2022, the state's current $9.25 an hour minimum_already one of the highest in the nation_would climb to $14.75 in metro Portland, $13.50 in smaller cities such as Salem and Eugene, and $12.50 in rural communities.
A regional approach would balance the needs of rapidly growing Portland with Oregon's struggling farming communities, long separated from the state's largest city by economic, cultural and political differences.
Demonstrators marched through the Oregon state Capitol on Thursday calling for higher minimum wage, among a list of other demands.
The state House of Representatives was debating a proposal to raise Oregon's minimum wage based on three geographic divisions.
At one point, demonstrators banged on a wall. No one was escorted away.
Representatives are expected to vote on the bill today. The state Senate already has approved a plan to start series of gradual increases over six years. Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, also said she supports the plan.
Oregon's current_$9.25 an hour minimum_already is one of the highest in the nation. By 2022, it would go up to $14.75 in metro Portland, $13.50 in smaller cities and $12.50 in rural communities by 2022.
The demonstrators also called for an end to sweeps of Oregon homeless camps and for rent control laws to fall under local jurisdictions.
Debate has begun in the Oregon House of Representatives over a unique proposal that would set the state's minimum wage based on three geographic divisions.
It also would make Oregon's minimum wage for all workers the highest in the U.S., according to D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute.
The House is expected to take a vote on the bill this afternoon.
If approved, it would start a series of gradual increases over six years: Oregon's current $9.25 an hour minimum - already one of the highest in the nation - would jump to $14.75 in metro Portland, $13.50 in smaller cities and $12.50 in rural communities by 2022.
A regional approach would balance the needs of rapidly Portland with the Oregon's struggling farming communities, long separated from the state's largest city by economic, cultural and political differences.
Division over the minimum wage - currently at $7.25 in federal law - is often split along party lines and pits low-wage workers against business groups, as has been seen in Oregon this year.